I had to drive to my midwife appointment this morning.  I don’t like to drive.  Not anywhere, not for any reason.  I just don’t feel like I’m any good at it because there seems to be different road rules everywhere we live.

And it got me thinking.  There are no books on the subject, nothing to let a person in on the new rules they might run into when driving in a new area…  So, I thought I’d give a basic overview of what I’ve observed.

Like, in a small farming town with only about 3000 people you always have to remember that old people in Buicks always have the right of way.  They don’t have to turn their heads.  They don’t have to acknowledge you.  Red light, stop sign, no matter.  They can just go.

In the not as small, but much more redneck town we lived in before our current location, the rules of the road were a bit easier. 

Go slow. 
Don’t turn out until there is at least a half mile between you and any traffic. 
Stop and let somebody else go every time, even if they are trying to let you go at the same time, and even if it causes you to lose ten minutes of your day. Nobody wants to give up their right to be the courteous one.

Then there are the bigger cities. Like the city we’re living in now.  Though I’ve never actually had to drive myself downtown (I reserve all that nonsense for when my husband can chauffeur me), I’ve noticed that the rules are the same in this big city, whether you’re in the suburbs or downtown.

And they are numerous.
And ridiculous.  But they are what they are.
So, here you go.

  1. First, I’d like to mention that here in the city turn signals are for cowards. Nobody uses them.  And if you use them people will see and treat you like a coward driver.  They’ll take advantage of you. Consider this before you flip on your blinker.
  2. Mini vans, while cute and functional don’t actually exist. You can drive right through them. Just try it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
  3. When in doubt, always go ahead and pull into traffic.
  4. If you’re driving a fancy sports car or other type of high dollar vehicle you always have the right of way.
  5. If you’re driving a dilapidated junker, road signs and other rules of the road do not apply to you. And you also have the right of way.
  6. Soccer mom SUV drivers never have to slow down in any Walmart crosswalk. They also have the right of way.
  7. If the back of your car sports a my kid is way awesome style sticker you’ll want to watch out. You’ve just opened yourself up to an entirely different set of road rules. Unless it’s a minivan you’re driving.  See rule number 2.
  8. Speed limits are more guidelines than actual rules. Always be on the safe side and go over the posted speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour. 15 if you’re on the interstate. If the person in front of you doesn’t understand this make sure to encourage them to speed up a bit by riding the behind end of their car.
  9. School crossing guards may not be able to issues tickets, but they can shake a fist like yo’ mama and holler obscenities that rival that language of the common sailor. Speed up to hurry passed them to avoid an altercation.
  10. Taxi divers just don’t care.
  11. School bus drivers are all crazy.
  12. If you don’t want to let somebody over just pretend you don’t see them.
  13. Larger, more intimidating vehicles such as 12 and 15 passenger vans, big trucks, etc… need to be shown who’s boss right away. Especially if you’re in a significantly smaller car, like a Geo. You’ll want to quickly drive in front of them and cut them off, or something equally as bold. Think Napoleon complex if you are unsure about this one.
  14. If you’re a bad driver, make sure you warn other drivers by lighting a cigarette with a match while talking on the phone. Not only does the cigarette act as a tiny bad-driver-beacon, but talking on your phone at the same time will cause you to swerve uncontrollably, letting all the other drivers know to watch out! There is a bad driver on the road.
  15. If somebody pulls out in front of you or cuts you off, remembering rule number 3 can help you have understanding and avoid you actually having to ram them with the front end of your vehicle.  Still, it’s a good idea to get as close up on their hind ends as dramatically as possible as if you couldn’t have possibly slowed down any more than that.  This will be good enough to teach them a thing or two. If you know what I mean.
  16. If you have a loud stereo in your vehicle, good quality or not, make sure you play it as loud as you possibly can.  Not only will it let the traffic around you know that you’re there, it also makes the statement, I am somebody.  Don’t ask me who.  Just know that I am.
  17. Always, always wait until the last possible second to merge.  Especially if there is a long line of traffic in the lane you’re merging into.  This is beneficial to you, as it is stupid to wait your turn when you don’t have to.

I’m sure there are more rules.  I just haven’t had a chance to learn them all – we’ve only lived here for 5 months so far. 

I’ll let you know if I learn anything else on the subject.  I’d like for it to be easier for other big city newbies than it has been for me.

On a side note –
As it turns out my husband is an excellent big city driver.  Took to it like a duck to water – knew all the rules automatically.  This is funny to me because he grew up in the population 3000 town I talked about in the beginning of this post. 

As for me, I think I’m just going to continue limiting my driving.

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